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What Should I Do if I Can’t Afford My Rent?

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Renting an apartment can be exciting for anyone, especially if it’s your first time. Not only did you reach independence from your parents, but you finally have a space to call your own. However, if you’ve only recently rented an apartment, you might have heard from your friends or family that the cost of rent has fluctuated over the years. Even if rent prices are slightly lower compared to previous years, inflation and other factors still impact the cost of living. So, it’s understandable to wonder, “What should I do if I can’t afford my rent?” Don’t worry! If you are in a difficult situation, some solutions may be available to help you.

Take a look at some strategies to consider if you’re struggling to pay your rent:

Talk to your landlord

Although this option can sound intimidating, you could talk to your landlord about your situation and ask for assistance. Even if you don’t get along with your landlord, they may be willing to help you if you’ve been on time with your payments. However, if you’ve had issues with rent in the past, you may still be able to find help if you speak with your landlord sooner than later. After all, a landlord may prefer to keep you instead of evicting you in order to avoid the risk of a vacant property. 

Keep in mind that you can ask your landlord in writing for an extension of a few days. In that writing, you should explain your situation and the difficulties impeding your ability to make a payment. You can offer a payment plan to your landlord or assure them that you will pay part of your rent at a scheduled time. Speaking of assurance, you can write your landlord about covering the late fee if they have a late policy. However, if you have a history of being responsible for your payments, you could ask your landlord to waive that late fee. 

Ask a loved one for help

If you asked, “What should I do if I can’t afford my rent?” you may have thought of your family immediately. After all, your family members and friends may have helped you in many situations and have been at your disposal. Even if it’s intimidating, you can ask your loved ones for financial support until you can cover the rent yourself. Or, if your family and friends can’t give you money, you can ask them to host you for a while. 

Of course, it can feel embarrassing to ask loved ones for help, but it’s best to have their assistance than to have nothing at all. If you can’t find a loved one willing to assist you, you can join community groups that provide financial aid. Simply search for different groups online and see if anyone can help you.

Apply for a loan 

If you’re struggling with rent due to debt or unexpected expenses, it may be in your best interest to apply for a loan. Asking your friends and family for money can change the nature of your relationship with them, so a loan could be an alternative option to consider if you need help making ends meet. You could try to apply for a personal loan if you have good credit or a title loan from LoanMart if you have subprime credit and a car title in your name.

Find assistance by calling 211

An alternative option you can use to cover your rent is to ask local nonprofits or religious organizations for help. Many local organizations in your area may offer rental assistance and other grant money to consolidate debt and pay your rent. If you don’t know where to begin, you can find local charities and non-profit organizations by calling United Way at 211. However, it’s worth noting that resources may be limited if you call during a national emergency.

What other things should I do if I can’t afford my rent?

Be aware that other strategies can help you with your rent situation. Search for ideas online and consider which options work best for you. You can even talk to financial advisors if you need guidance on what to do. It’s always good to weigh your options before you decide what to do.


Jordan Wayne, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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